Hakkinen reflects on racing return at Suzuka 10 Hours

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Mika Hakkinen says he relished a return to competitive motorsport after his team finished the Suzuka 10 Hours last weekend.

Hakkinen was the biggest name on the grid for this year’s Asian round of Intercontinental GT Challenge, as he shared a McLaren 720S GT3 with double Super Formula champion Hiroaki Ishiura and historics racer Katsuaki Kubota.

It marked the Finn’s first competitive race outing since 2013, when he won one of the two GT Asia races at the Zhuhai circuit in China. 

The 50-year-old first took the wheel of the McLaren just past the first hour and completed two more stints later in the race, enjoying a trouble-free run with no incidents.

Hakkinen and his Planex Smacam teammates Ishiura and Kubota were eventually classified 22nd overall in a field comprising 36 cars, seven laps down on the race-winning WRT Audi R8 LMS, hindered by a spin for Kubota.

Asked to describe his first race in six years, Hakkinen told Motorsport.com: “Beautiful experience, really, really beautiful experience.

“Atmosphere is fantastic, the fans are super excited and it was great to experience with McLaren to do this race over here since many years.

“Tough race, 10 hours, really, really hot race. It made it special preparation to get success. It’s really interesting, racing with three different drivers, three drivers doing the driver change, learning the technique. I really like it. Really great atmosphere.”

Despite the lacklustre result for an unproven squad, Hakkinen says he is contemplating more Suzuka 10 Hours outings in the future.

Hakkinen hasn’t raced competitively for two consecutive years since his final DTM campaign in 2007.

“I have to look what are the positives and the negatives and see if it works out,” Hakkinen said. “But obviously we need to talk and see if we continue this. It’s not so simple.”

#11 Planex Smacam Racing McLaren 720S GT3: Mika Hakkinen

Photo by: Masahide Kamio

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